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Hockey trophies to star in exhibit

Some guys named Lord Stanley, King Clancy and the Prince of Wales -- or at least the trophies named for them -- are coming to Buffalo, just in time for the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Heck, even Lady Byng is expected to crash the party.

Sixteen of the National Hockey League's 19 trophies will be on exhibit in Albright-Knox Art Gallery from Jan. 2 to 5. One of those, the Stanley Cup, will be here Jan. 2, 3 and 4.

The list of Sabres' awards includes some of the most cherished silverware in the sport, including the Prince of Wales Trophy (Eastern Conference champion), Presidents' Trophy (best regular-season record), Hart Trophy (most valuable player) and Calder Trophy (top rookie).

But not, of course, the most cherished one, the Stanley Cup.

The trophy exhibit, being set up in the gallery's Clifton Hall, will be held in conjunction with the photo exhibit "Forty [Years]: The Sabres in the NHL," and for the last four days of the World Junior Hockey Championship, being played in HSBC Arena and at Niagara University.

"To see such a cluster of trophies together, it's like bringing the Hockey Hall of Fame to Buffalo," said Louis Grachos, Albright-Knox director.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on Buffalo and Lewiston for the world juniors. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, like other cultural sites, is hoping to lure a sizable portion of that audience to its hockey-themed dual attraction.

"It's a great opportunity for all of us," Grachos said. "We want to show off to our visitors how many great cultural attractions we have in our city."

While most of the tournament fans are expected from Canada, Grachos pointed out that many will come from Europe, other parts of the United States and areas of Canada far from Toronto.

"This might be the first opportunity for many of them to see these great trophies," he said.

Visitors to the World Juniors will have their pick of 31 tournament games, 21 in HSBC Arena and 10 in NU's Dwyer Arena.

But hockey addicts also will have a chance to get their fix through hockey-related events in Buffalo during the tournament, to run from Sunday through Jan. 5.

Details on those events:

* The art gallery's dual exhibit.

The "Forty" exhibit will be on display through Jan. 9. The Stanley Cup will be on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 2 and 4, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 3. Fifteen other trophies also will be exhibited from Jan. 2 to 5.

* "Hockey Courage," a 90-minute documentary, will be shown at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. every day through Thursday in the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre.

The movie focuses on the families of two Western New York sled-hockey players vying for spots on the U.S. national team.

* Hockey Towne USA Fan Fest, to run from Sunday through Wednesday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, will feature all things hockey, include interactive games and a bubble-hockey tournament.

* The Buffalo Sabres will host the Boston Bruins at 7 p.m. New Year's Day in HSBC Arena. The late Buffalo News hockey writer Jim Kelley and former player Alexander Mogilny will be inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.

Jan. 1 is the only date with no junior games during the 11-day tournament.

Bringing both "Forty" and the trophies here has been a labor of love for Grachos. He isn't just an art gallery director who has studied hockey in preparation for the two exhibits. He's a big hockey fan who grew up in Toronto.

Grachos knows what has impressed him the most about seeing fans stroll through the "Forty" exhibit.

"To see parents with their kids, teaching them about the history of the Sabres, and to see grandparents do it, has been really rewarding to see," he said. "Parents and grandparents are passing on the history and legacy of the Buffalo Sabres to their children and grandchildren."

Grachos gave a very political answer when asked whether he is a bigger fan of the Sabres or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I love the Sabres," he replied. "My son and I are big fans. But when the Maple Leaf jerseys hit the ice, it brings back great memories from my childhood."

How about now?

"Being a Leafs fan is like being a tortured soul," he answered.

Here is a run-down of some of the Sabres' trophy winners:

* The team has been most successful carting home the Vezina Trophy, which now goes to the best goaltender, as voted by the league's general managers. The Sabres have won that one a whopping nine times, led by Dominik Hasek's six trophies.

The Sabres also brought home five William Jennings trophies, given each year to the goalie(s) playing at least 25 games for the team giving up the fewest goals.

So goalies have won 14 of the team's 32 trophies.

* Three current Sabres have won awards. Defenseman Tyler Myers won the Calder Trophy (best rookie) last season, when goalie Ryan Miller won the Vezina. Coach Lindy Ruff won the coaches' Jack Adams Trophy in 2005-06.

* The team itself has won three trophies, twice winning the Prince of Wales and once the Presidents' Trophy.

* Hasek has won, by far, the most trophies of any Sabres, 12 in all. Three others are next, tied with two apiece.

* Eleven others have won one, including broadcaster Rob Ray, who won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1998-99, for leadership and contributions to the community.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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